Solution-focused therapy, also known as solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), is a direct approach to solving human problems by focusing on the strengths rather than the problem itself. The therapy works to solve emotional and mental health problems that are likely to occur in people’s day-to-day lives. SFT is committed to finding real solutions to issues as quickly as possible.
When to Use Solution Based Therapy
- Domestic abuse
- Problems at the workplace
Like any other form of therapy, solution-focused therapy has potential advantages and disadvantages. Some of the pros and cons of using SFT can be summarized as follows:
Pros of solution-focused therapy
1. It is a short-term therapy: Unlike the other forms of therapy where sessions take forever, solution-focused therapy is quick and brief. Sessions will last for about 6 to 10 weeks only, and clients will progress almost immediately. The main focus is on the solution and not the problem.
2. It is future-oriented: Solution-focused therapy sessions aim at the future; counselors encourage clients to move ahead with their lives and not dwell on their past. They constantly reinforce clients to figure out their desired future instead of the problem at hand. SFT seeks to create a plan for clients to achieve their future visions.
3. It is non-judgemental: The therapy is compassionate; the practitioners will always praise the clients for any positive changes, however small they are. They also encourage the clients to keep moving even if they fail to achieve their set goals.
4. It is goal-oriented: Solution-focused therapy is a goal-directed approach that aims to provide attainable goals for the client while dealing with problematic issues. It differs from traditional therapy, which involves a deep analysis of the client’s past experiences. The client sets a particular goal to help them overcome a specific issue.
5. It focuses on the strengths only: Solution-focused therapy concentrates on the strengths and capabilities of clients rather than their weaknesses and imperfections. The focus is on the client’s health skills and abilities that would help achieve future goals. The client’s strengths are used as determinants of their future fate.
6. It saves time: Most counselors prefer solution-focused therapy because it is quick and short-term. You get a client, and within a short period, the session is booming, and the client is okay. In addition, the quick sessions help the client to concentrate more on their goals.
7. Helps to improve interpersonal relationships: Solution-focused therapies significantly improve interpersonal relationships between conflicting parties. As a result, it helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
8. It is client-driven: In this form of therapy, the clients identify their problems then decide their goals. Solution-focused therapy addresses wide-ranging problems for all, whether for an individual client, couple, or family. The client also has the right to end the session whenever they feel satisfied.
9. It makes the client hopeful: Since solution-focused therapy works with positive psychology principles, the client will be optimistic for a better future. The principles make them anticipate moving forward in life.
10. The counselors are usually supportive: The practitioners use compliments to motivate their clients and increase their self-esteem. They praise the clients often, so they do not feel discouraged or give up. It makes the client keep striving to achieve their set goals.
Cons of solution-focused therapy
1. It is short-term: Solution-focused therapy may not work for everyone. Clients are different and need to be handled differently. For example, those with severe problems like mental issues, introverted ones, and those who struggle to open up may need more time to feel comfortable.
2. Does not give room to explore events: Sometimes, a client’s situation may have complex circumstances that need thorough investigation for proper counseling. Clients with past trauma experiences need the practitioner to dig into the problem, which is impossible.
3. It discourages speculation about why the problem arises: Since the therapy is solution-focused, it denies the client the chance to understand a past issue. The practitioner aims only to find a solution and focus on the near future.
4. It may not be a good option for people with severe mental health concerns: Solution-focused therapy cannot be appropriate for people with severe mental issues like Schizophrenia and psychiatric conditions. Clients with mental issues need more time and attention. The counselor’s focus on quick solutions can make them miss out on a client’s essential health concerns.
5. Does not allow for a connection between the client and the therapist: Solution-focused therapy’s quick, goal-oriented nature may limit an established relationship between the client and the counselor. Failure to create an emotional connection between the two could affect their communication.
6. Assumes that clients can fix and address their issues: Even though solution-focused therapy is a perfect treatment for all kinds of stress, it may be frustrating if a client wants to concentrate more on an immediate issue. It assumes that clients can handle some problems on their own.
7. Pushes clients to deal with future-related issues: The therapy forces clients to deal with future-related problems which they may not be able to as they are still working on their past and present matters. The clients may not be mentally prepared to face the future.
8. Focuses on the present than the past: Sometimes, a client’s current situation could result from something that happened in the past. In SFT, a therapist will not be keen enough about the history, but such past traumas could be the reason why someone behaves in a certain way.
9. The client can end the session whenever they want: A solution-focused therapy uses the client-led approach, so a client can decide to end the session anytime. As long as they feel their goals have been reached, the client may feel enough despite the counselor’s opinions.
10. The therapy can be troublesome: Since it is solution-focused, clients can still feel like their problem has not been solved the way they want. Also, the counselor has a challenge of trusting whatever the client says and accepting their goals even if they do not add value.